The Naperville North Prairie
We began the process of planting the Naperville North High School Prairie in the summer of 2010. The prairie lies between Ogden Avenue and the ring-road (Memorial Drive) within the NNHS campus. It extends from the Ogden Avenue entrance to the campus to the western border of NNHS’ property. The prairie was envisioned and has been cultivated by Michael and Lori Fahle. Michael’s and Lori’s daughter, Michelle, was in the NNHS Class of 2013; Michelle passed away in the fall of 2009. Michael is a 1977 graduate of NNHS and a Certified Naturalist. The NNHS Prairie is the Fahle family’s gift to NNHS to honor Michelle.
As of the spring of 2015, Mike and Lori have lovingly guided the prairie through five growing seasons and three phases of expansion. The prairie has grown from the original section planted in the summer of 2010 to the third and latest section planted in the summer of 2013. The plants in the prairie are all native Illinois prairie species either grown by the Fahle's, purchased commercially, or donated from other prairie gardens. The NNHS Prairie has been recognized by the Conservation Foundation as a “Conservation at Home” garden.
In the fall of 2012, to commemorate Michelle's senior year, a ceremony was held to dedicate the garden. In the photo display that follows, there is a photograph of that event which was attended by family, friends, peers, and peers’ parents.
The prairie is a memorial containing other memorials. Four trees planted in the prairie stand as memorials to students Kyle Depuydt, Class of 1996, and Celeste Tomasello, Class of 2000, as well as to teacher Brenda Hawker, and the husband of teacher Nancy Deese.
The prairie was envisioned as a classroom, a teaching space. Students from AP Environmental and horticulture classes have participated in seed collection, seed distribution, seasonal burning, and various cultivation activities necessary to get the prairie started. Other cultivation activities were supported by student and parent volunteers as well as an Eagle Scout project. Several of the photographs that follow illustrate student and parent volunteer efforts.